Carnival of Venice  

Carnival of Venice

Don your tricorn hat and gilded disguise, it"s time to visit the Carnival of Venice. This centuries-old festival combines revelry with anonymity, thanks to the masks traditionally worn by attendees, from the classic square-jawed Bauta mask to the Colombina eye mask, with roots in Italian theater. Costumed rowers take part in a parade of traditional boats on Venice"s famous Grand Canal while thousands of people wearing elaborate costumes enjoy the carnival atmosphere. Parades, parties, concerts, and performances will fill the streets until festivities end on Shrove Tuesday, which falls on February 13 this year. Visitors might pass by the Santa Maria della Salute, seen toward the back of today"s image, a baroque basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is considered to be the protector of the city.

© RudyBalasko/Getty Images

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